ON THE TRAIL TO FITNESS
Steve Stanhope wanted to salute his late friend Tom Goodall a second time Saturday morning.
So he ran another six miles.
Stanhope, of Summerville, was one of more than 50 people who participated in the Tom Goodall and Stan Wilde Memorial Event for Personal Health. Participants ran, walked, mountain-biked or rode horses over a six-mile course on property off Owsley Canyon Road.
The event was conducted to salute Goodall and the late Stan Wilde. The two foresters helped manage this 1,335 acres of forest land when it was owned by Boise Cascade. Goodall also used its trails for running and mountain biking.
Goodall and Stanhope ran on long-distance relay teams and went on rafting trips together before Tom died suddenly Aug. 3, 2001.
"He was a fun guy to hang out with,'' Stanhope said.
Stanhope ran the six-mile course in memory of Goodall on Saturday. It was an
"I had to stop a lot and think of Tom,'' Stanhope said. "When I was done, I did it (the six-mile run) again because I wanted to think of him some more.''
Like Goodall, Wilde, who died May 7, 2003, played an instrumental role in managing the forest area off of Owsley Canyon Road, three miles north of
La Grande and just below the Grande Ronde Bowmen's range.
"It's the best managed private forest land in Eastern Oregon," said Bart Barlow, a Boise Cascade region environmental engineer. "This is a credit to Stan Wilde. He was an amazing person.''
Wilde's wife, Linda, was at Saturday's event. She was moved by the tribute to her husband.
"It's so wonderful for him to be recognized in this way,'' Linda Wilde said. "This was his love, for sure.''
The Blue Mountain Singletrack Trails Club put on Saturday's event. The club wants to preserve and expand the trail network in the area, now managed by Forest Capital Partners and owned by Gallatin Northeast Oregon Land and Timber.
Barlow believes the trail network could be expanded so that it could run north up the face of Mount Emily to Indian Rock, west to Five Points Creek and then southeast back to its starting point.
The expanded trail network, most of which would be on U.S. Forest Service land, would be about 20 miles long and offer spectacular views of the Grande Ronde Valley.
"What a ride,'' Barlow said. "People would be dying to use it.''
Such a trail system could draw up to 10,000 mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians from outside Northeast Oregon a year, said Barlow, who is also a member of the Blue Mountain Singletrack Trails Club.
He noted that in Fruita, Colo., a 100-mile mountain bike trail system was established several years ago. Today it draws in 100,000 mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians from outside the region each year.
Mark Larson, owner of Cyclesports, agrees that the trail system off of Owsley Canyon Road could be expanded. He said many remnants of old
trails could be restored and connected to the network.
Larson said the trail network in place now is an excellent base. Larson mountain bikes on trails throughout the West including ones in the Bend area, Utah and Colorado.
"This (the trail network on Forest Capital land) is as good or better than any of them,'' Larson said.
He likes that it is so close to a population center.
"In two hours you can leave, have a great ride and be back to work,'' Larson said.
Its beauty and degree of difficulty are also a plus.
"It's very, very pretty. There's lots of wildlife, and on most rides you have it all to yourself,'' Larson said.
All of the trails are of the narrow single-track variety. Mountain bikers like single-track trails because they leave little margin for error. One mistake on a single-track trail and a rider can slip off. Not so on wider trails for cars and all-terrain vehicles.
Mountain bikers also prefer single-track trails like those off Owsley Canyon Road because they wind closely through trees and rocks.
"It's a mountain biking playground. It's a spider web of trails that cross and intersect,'' Larson said.
Another plus is that the trail network is off limits to motorized vehicles including ATVs. Larson noted that he is also an avid ATV rider and supports their use. Still, he thinks it is best when there can be trails for non-motorized uses.
The Blue Mountain Singletrack Trails Club invites more than mountain bikers to use the trails. Runners, hikers and equestrians and cross-country skiers are also encouraged to use them.
Saturday's memorial event for Goodall and Wilde would not have been possible without help from Forest Capital, which allowed the event to take place on its
property, Barlow said.
He added that the club's goal is for Forest Capital to be able to manage the timber on this land on a sustainable basis while allowing controlled public access.
Information on the Blue Mountain Singletrack Track Trails Club can
be obtained by calling Barlow at 963-9740, Rick Bowen at 963-0480 or Greg Howard at 963-4596.